Fantasy Baseball Round Table: An experiment in trade negotiations, Part II

by Todd Zola, on June 12, 2013 @ 14:20:48 PDT


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We'll do one more between Nick Minnix and Greg Morgan.

NM: Hello, my good man. Ol' chap, as it were. I have taken a little time to examine the field in the Lord Zola Round Table League, and I do believe we (you and I, to be clear, ol' chap) could find some agreeable ground on which to do business. I'm certain that you're as excited as I am.

I plan to take a more thorough survey of the land and perhaps solicit the league, but really, just wanted to see if you would have interest in one of my plethora of HR-hitting types -- Alfonso Soriano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Trumbo, Nellie Cruz, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I would be in the mood for speed and such, and perhaps we can get creative to make up whatever gaps we perceive there to be when offers start to fire from our lips.

Anyway, this is purely a reflex, and I couldn't help myself. My availability for the next few days is probably going to be limited, so I needed to get the ball rolling somehow, somewhere. You can tell me to shove it, and I will be just fine with that. Thanks good ol' chap, and good day.

GM: Ha ha. That was a good read. 

Well mate, I'm relieved that this is a free league. Scanning my roster would be painful otherwise. So you need speed eh? Can I interest thee in Ben Revere? Perhaps for the Fonz?

NM: While I would indeed agree to a swap of Revere and Soriano, might I interest you in raising the stakes, say Lucas Duda and Soriano for Revere and Emilio Bonifacio?

GM: I must say, I'm not so sure I fancy parting with two pilferers of bases.

NM: The Bonifacio inclusion isn't a big deal. I realized that I'm probably making this more complicated than it needs to be. I am agreed on the Revere-for-Soriano, so if you have any reservations at all or would prefer to avoid complicating the negotiation and tying each other up for the possibility to do other trades, then you're welcome just to confirm this one-for-one swap, and I'll accept.

GM: Cool, let's make it just the Fonz for Ben Revere.  Not crazy about Zippity Do Da and would rather keep Bonifacio methinks.

Lord Zola's Analysis

To my knowledge, Greg and Nick do not know each other save from the contributions to the regular Round Table. This is (unfortunately) common in many Internet leagues. There's likely a mutual respect like there would be between a couple of competitive league mates, but I am fairly certain Greg and Nick have not ever broken bread, so to speak.

As such, Nick opted to put whatever initial tension due to unfamiliarity at ease by sending a cute icebreaker. As an aside, I'm personally thankful he elected to take on the persona of a proper English fellow as opposed to the smooth talking, lady's man he morphs into on the radio, baby.

Greg, in turn, played along and even furthered the gimmick, which set the tone for comfortable negotiations. This is the best setting for both parties to get what they need. Often, when the tone and feel is 100 percent business, the objective is for each to better the other, and this usually results in a stalled negotiation.

The final point I'll make about this deal is once again, the periphery was removed and a deal was struck. To be fair, going for a 2-for-2 instead of a 1-for-1 is perfectly fine, I am talking more about the deals that involve multiple players on each side. I can't tell you how many trade evaluation questions I get that are prefaced with a particular need to be followed by five players exchanged on each side. My response is always the same. If you need speed, then deal for speed and leave the rest out (or power, or saves -- whatever the initial preface might be). Too many moving parts cloud the analysis and is more often than not an attempt on both sides to win a deal. Sure, add another player if it helps level the field, but don't get carried away.

Before we call it a day, I would like to thank the Knights for their cooperation. I apologize since all the deals did not make it into the columns. I'd also like to apologize for the occasional adjustment from the original transcript.

We'll wrap this up next week with some comments from the participants.

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About Todd Zola,

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

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